Alex Tischer 2015 Q&A: Powers of the Board

Currently, there are no checks on the power of the Board outside the Board itself, since the Board can change the OTW’s bylaws without approval from anyone else. If elected, would you support adding non-Board checks on the Board’s power to the bylaws? If so, what types of checks would you support? If not, why would you not support any checks?

I would certainly support adding non-Board checks on the Board’s power to the bylaws. As for what types of checks, I believe it depends on which of the Board’s powers we want to keep in check. For certain things, strengthening the committees’ voice might be effective, like requiring a majority of chairs to approve certain changes. For other things, a single committee might have more influence – like safeguarding Elections from Board interference on changes relevant to the elections. Others again should possibly require approval from the membership, if we can think of a feasible way to implement this.

I think the concrete details would have to be worked out with legal help, because there are of course certain limitations on how a non-profit can or can’t be set up.

In accordance with Article VI, Section 1 of the By-laws, the President (and any other Officers) can be appointed at majority will of the Board without being Board members themselves. What are you thoughts on major players and representatives of the Org being chosen without the approval and confidence of the general Org electorate? Do you believe this leaves those roles vulnerable to being filled by unqualified persons? How would you as a Board member work to ensure Officers were qualified for the positions they held?

I definitely think this has the potential to lead to those roles being filled by unqualified persons, yes. As an org, we don’t have, up until this point, explored recruiting for qualifications for those kinds of positions at all. I think we will have to change that, especially for roles that rely on qualifications in more technical subject areas like accounting. I would feel a lot less worried about the Board appointing Officers without approval of the members if they at least had the formal qualifications to show.

The Board approved in August 2015 a change in the OTW bylaws that would allow Board to remove any Board member, with or without reason. Under what, if any, circumstances do you believe this should occur?

I cannot come up with any circumstances when removing a Board member without reason would be appropriate. Any removal from the Board should be justified and explained both to OTW volunteers and to the membership. I do not know why Board decided to approve the bylaw change with that wording, but I would support a change to a more reasonable wording. There should certainly be ways to remove Board members, but not without accountability and not one so vague that could possibly be used as a weapon and a silencing mechanism.